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BC Business Magazine - - Quality Time -

the First World War, Chor Leoni com­mis­sioned a ma­jor new work: When There Is Peace, an ora­to­rio by Amer­i­can com­poser Zachary Wadsworth with a li­bretto by artis­tic di­rec­tor Erick Lichte and theatre di­rec­tor Peter Roth­stein, and per­for­mances by guest soloists and the Bo­re­alis String Quar­tet.

The Re­mem­brance Day con­cert is one of Larocque’s favourites be­cause it’s been per­formed an­nu­ally since 1993, a year af­ter Chor Leoni’s found­ing. Plus, “it pro­vides our com­mu­nity with a mean­ing­ful op­por­tu­nity to re­mem­ber and cel­e­brate the sac­ri­fices of many Cana­di­ans who served our coun­try so coura­geously,” he says.

The an­nual Christ­mas Con­cert se­ries, in­tro­duced in 1995, is al­ways pop­u­lar, draw­ing 800 or 900 peo­ple to some per­for­mances: this time around there are five from De­cem­ber 14 to 17, cel­e­brat­ing the launch of a new hol­i­day CD, Star of Won­der, recorded over the past two years.

Chor Leoni re­hearsals, held for three hours ev­ery Wed­nes­day, are also pro­fes­sion­ally recorded, with each mem­ber re­ceiv­ing a copy so they can prac­tise in­de­pen­dently at home. “We’re con­stantly work­ing our own voices in­di­vid­u­ally but with the ob­jec­tive of be­ing part of a greater sound,” Larocque notes.

As con­certs or CD record­ings ap­proach, the choir adds ex­tra re­hearsals and pro­vides ac­cess to pri­vate lessons. It also brings in coaches when mem­bers sing in for­eign lan­guages, which have in­cluded French, Rus­sian, Lat­vian, Es­to­nian and Pun­jabi.

The next gen­er­a­tion of male choral singers is nur­tured through Myvoice (Mo­bi­liz­ing Young men’s Voices), a donor-funded Chor Leoni pro­gram for 12-to-20-year-olds in Metro Van­cou­ver. Par­tic­i­pants per­form with the choir ev­ery spring at UBC’S Chan Cen­tre in a con­cert called Van­man Male Choral Sum­mit. This April, Can­tus, a renowned eight-man U.S. a cap­pella en­sem­ble, will join them.

“It re­ally does help to raise young men to be kinder, more sen­si­tive and thought­ful and car­ing, but also to keep the tra­di­tion of mu­sic and mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion alive, which is also much of what I do at Arts Um­brella, serv­ing more than 20,000 young peo­ple in Metro Van­cou­ver through arts ed­u­ca­tion,” Larocque says. “I’m lucky that I have the op­por­tu­nity to have a job that in­spires me ev­ery sin­gle day, and then to be able to par­tic­i­pate in some­thing so mean­ing­ful as be­ing a part of Chor Leoni is huge for me.”

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